It’s difficult not to be swayed by this flamboyant Sunny skirting around on his bike and stopping for a minute to size up his juniors in college because they had hooted at his girlfriend riding pillion with him. He’s the popular guy here. Boys hero worship him almost. They bunk classes to cheer him on the football field. They run to him with their petty problems, too. He’s smart, handsome and just what the lead guy in a film should be.
Yet, he isn’t. And that is where Sukhamo Devi is audacious. In Venu Nagavally’s directorial romantic drama in 1986, the character who should be the hero is actually the friend of the hero. While the protagonist is a shy, timid fellow who pales in comparison to our Sunny. Yet, this is a friendship to last even after Sunny’s life is suddenly stubbed after a freak bike accident. The beauty of his bond is carried forward when Nandan decides to marry Thara, Sunny’s girlfriend who is devastated by the death of her beloved. He could have united with Devi, his ex-girlfriend. After all, she was having a troubled marriage… a union she was forced into. But then, the dynamics here are different. Quelling doubts in their mind, the lead characters do what would be most practical. Keeping the memory of their friend alive in their actions.
Apart from the extremely dashing Mohanlal in Sukhamo Devi, I liked something else in the film, too. The simplicity of the script. And the setting. Here is a place where everyone knows everyone. They are willing to help each other. The homes are beautiful, the landscape is green. The emotions are raw and recognisable. In an age when we are constantly pummelled with gloomy disturbing news, these are the films taking me back in time. Giving me a welcome respite from noise and rancour with their lyrical, sparkling execution…